Our top 5 beaches in South Goa – Beholding glorious beaches, delectable cuisine, bustling nightlife & westernised culture, it is no surprise that Goa is India’s number one holiday destination. Wander-lusting travellers have been soaking in the majestical vibe of this eccentric state since the 1960s when the Hippie movement helped put Goa firmly on the map. Today, despite the surge in tourism, an element of Hippie culture still exists. Yoga, meditation, spirituality, psychedelics, weed, peace and love can all be found in abundance… if you find yourself on the right beach!
The beaches are one of the top things to see and explore in Goa. Despite being the smallest state in India, over 60 beaches adorn the extensive 100km coastline of Goa. It can, therefore, be a daunting task when it comes to choosing which to visit. If you’re looking for action-packed beaches complete with water sports and late night parties, then you’re probably going to prefer the beaches in the NORTH of Goa. However, if you’re in need of some R&R (Relax & Recuperation), along with yoga classes and quaint cafes then SOUTH Goa is going to be more suited.
GOA-HEAD & CHILL
After spending time in both the North & the South, we personally prefer the laid-back vibes of the latter. And in this article, we will share the details of our favourite beaches in South Goa.
Are you an LGBT+ traveller? Check out our article LGBT+ Travel Guide for Goa.
So without further ado here is our list of top beaches in Goa, India.
TOP 5 BEACHES IN SOUTH GOA, INDIA
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HOW TO GET TO GOA
BY AIR – The closest airport to Goa is Goa International Airport, situated 57km away from South Goa.
BY TRAIN – South Goa has two major railway stations, Margao and Vasco-da-Gama. South Goa is connected via train from across the region, however, booking trains in India can be tricky. It is advised to book at least 3 days in advance and even then you aren’t always guaranteed a ticket. For this reason, we always used the bus network in India. You can book trains up to 6 months in advance using 12go Asia.
BY BUS – Goa is accessible by bus from a number of destinations across India. To check routes, timetables and ticket prices we recommend using redbus.com. In our experience, they are extremely reliable. They are one of the few companies who will accept payment with an International card, and they are contactable by phone should you have any issues with your journey.
WHERE TO STAY IN SOUTH GOA
Hostel – Hotel Good Shepherd – Cheap and just 600m from the beach.
Budget – Agonda Sunset Hostel – Garden and sea view rooms and breakfast included.
Mid-Range – Apricot Service Apartments – This was perfect for us, bicycles available to hire and the apartments are equipt with a kitchen, air-con and washing machine.
For more places to stay in South Goa, check the latest prices here.
BEST TIME TO VISIT SOUTH GOA
The best time to visit Goa is between the months of October & March when the monsoon season is over and the weather is mostly warm & dry. The ‘season’ so to speak, doesn’t kick off until early November. This means that October is quiet, however, you may find that very few establishments are open at this time. Conversely, the end of November through to early January is extremely busy; therefore you may well need to book in advance if you plan to visit during those times.
1. PALOLEM BEACH
Out of all the beaches on this list, Palolem Beach is probably the most lively, and in recent years it has become a favourite among travellers. Although a far cry from the vivacious beaches in the North, an array of bars, restaurants and vendors adorn the beach during peak season. This being said, you are likely to experience a laid back crowd here, thanks to the 10pm noise curfew.
As well as enjoying the picturesque beach, visitors can take part in dolphin spotting, yoga classes, shopping or silent discos. You will find a number of nice places to eat in town, as well as some cool cafes with decent wifi. Palolem is an excellent choice for those looking to enjoy a laid back vibe in the company of other travellers.
FOOD RECOMMENDATION – 1. Cafe Inn, seriously yummy falafel and hummus! 2. Karma Cafe & Bakery, Veggie burger, banana bread, vegan chocolate brownie, peanut cookies actually everything is delicious! (Vegetarian/Vegan options available for both)
PALOLEM BEACH MAP LOCATION
2. PATNEM BEACH
Situated immediately next door to Palolem, separated only by the headland, is Patnem Beach. Although the appearance of the 2 beaches is barely distinguishable, the change of pace certainly is. Patnem is the perfect spot to venture to when its favoured neighbour gets overly crowded during peak season. You will also find it a welcome break from relentless beach hawkers.
Despite being less popular, Patnem is still a comfortable option, with a number of cool bars and restaurants to be found along the beach. We loved walking the jungle infested roads to get there from our apartment in Palolem. It became an evening ritual to hit one of the beach bars and watch the captivating sunsets with an ice-cold beer in hand.
FOOD RECOMMENDATION – Cuba restaurant beachfront, we tried a mix of dishes all were super tasty! (Vegetarian/Vegan options available)
PATNEM BEACH MAP LOCATION
3. AGONDA BEACH
Agonda is without a doubt one of the most picturesque beaches in all of South Goa, which is why this place is an Instagram hot spot. (Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram here!) Hosting golden sands, clear waters and breathtaking scenery it is the kind of beach you can enjoy for hours on end. After catching some rays, the calm waters are perfect for swimming & cooling down. Or if you are feeling adventurous there are some impressive viewpoints, rock formations and lagoons to be discovered along the bay.
Agonda is one of only 4 beaches in Goa designated as a turtle nesting site, and therefore extra efforts are made by the local authorities & community to keep it well maintained. For a chance to witness this natural phenomenon, you should visit between the months of December and February.
FOOD RECOMMENDATION – The White Resort, we only had drinks here but the food looked and smelled amazing! This beautiful beachfront restaurant also has a pool for paying customers! (Vegetarian/Vegan options available)
AGONDA BEACH MAP LOCATION
4. GALGIBAGA (AKA TURTLE) BEACH
When you’re looking to completely disconnect from civilisation, then Galgibaga (AKA Turtle) Beach is the place for you. When we visited just before peak season (October), we found ourselves to be the only ones there. Well, that’s if you don’t include the ridiculously cute puppies that decided to befriend us all morning! As the name suggests, this beach is another turtle nesting site and therefore very well maintained. It also hosts some of the clearest & bluest water of all the beaches we visited in South Goa.
Despite all of this, Galgibaga remains one of the quietest beaches in South Goa. This is largely due to the surrounding area (so far) escaping the developments of tourism. Please do keep this in mind when you visit and be respectful towards the local community. We had a lot of locals eyeing us curiously as we drove our scooter through the back roads leading to the beach. You will also want to take any supplies you might need with you, as you will struggle to find any shops nearby.
GALGIBAGA (AKA TURTLE) BEACH MAP LOCATION
5. BUTTERFLY BEACH
Last but not least is the most exciting beach on the list, Butterfly Beach. The only way to access this enchanting cove is either by renting a boat from Palolem or taking a challenging hike through the surrounding forest. Unfortunately, we only found this out once it was too late! We went in search of this mysterious beach after spotting it on google maps, however when we were unable to locate the route on our scooter we gave up. It was only later on during a discussion with a local that we learnt of its tricky location.
Although we didn’t make it there on this trip, this hidden gem is at the top of our list for our return. We were almost certain you guys would be interested in it too. Maybe just ask for some advice from the locals before you go searching for it!
BUTTERFLY BEACH MAP LOCATION
WHAT TO PACK FOR GOA
Unsure of what you might need to pack for your adventures in India? Don’t worry, we have got you covered. Check out our backpacker essentials, for a packing list of items that we carry with us on every adventure.
Here are some items that we recommend taking to make your visit to the beaches & waterfalls more comfortable:
- Comfortable shoes for the hike down
- Water shoes to wear in the water – We Recommend: 2 in 1 Water/Hiking Shoes.
- Waterproof Bag to protect valuables – We Recommend: Waterproof Dry Bag-10L/20L/30L
- Bathing suit & towel for the obvious – We Recommend: Microfiber Travel Towel
It should go without saying; however, when enjoying the beach, it’s important to be mindful of the environment. It is no secret that some of our planets fragile ecosystems are at risk of extinction. There are many small steps you can take to becoming a responsible traveller, check out the Eco-Travel essentials here. It is our duty as travellers, that we reduce our footprint where we can, here are some tips:
- Do not leave anything on the beaches, or take anything away – unless you’ve purchased it from a local supplier.
- Wear Reef Safe Sunscreen.
- Try to avoid touching coral, sea life or anything in the ocean… unless it’s plastic, take it away and dispose of properly.
- Be careful with any rubbish that it doesn’t fly overboard. Keep it secure until you can dispose of it properly.
More on India
Are you planning a trip to India? Check out our other articles to help plan your trip.
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- THE ULTIMATE HAMPI ITINERARY & TRAVEL GUIDE
- 24 HOURS IN BANGALORE – THINGS TO DO
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Did you enjoy our list of top beaches in Goa?
Well, that concludes Top 5 beaches in Goa, India. We hope you enjoy your time in this magical country. If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please reach out to us in the comment section below, through our contact us page. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram here where we share further travel advice & inspiration.
Stay Adventurous & Happy Travels,
Charlotte & Natalie x
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